Saturday, May 23, 2015

Authors Helping Authors: Bundled short story with my next novel

Providing a helping hand to authors is something I've spent a lot of time at.  Long before my installment "Authors Helping Authors" I've written hundreds of blog posts and articles, not to mention numerous panels at conventions. Those have been great at providing helping to a lot of authors from a standpoint of education, but I wanted to do more to get them noticed.

My wife, who is brilliant, came up with an incredible idea. "Hey, why not include the short story from a new or unknown author with your book."  Generally, my sales run from 30,000 - 100,000 per story, so that's a lot of eyeballs.

While that alone would be enough incentive, I'm all about authors earning money. I've written for a few anthologies before, many of them for free (like Unfettered - to raise money for Shawn Speakman's medical bills). The "paying" gigs usually result in a few hundred dollars.  The pro rate as dictated by the SWFA is somewhere around $0.06 a word, which is ridiculous.  We're going to pay $0.15 a word for up to 5,000 words.

But money isn't the only thing that an author gets when being "published" by someone other than them. They also get structural editing support and copy editing. So, we're going to be doing that as well. For structural, both Robin and I will work with the author to make the story as good as it can be. For copy editing, we'll pay the same editors who are working on the larger novel to put that extra polish on the apple.

Now, as far as "whose" short story we'll bundle, and "which author" will get picked, we'll handle that in the time honored tradition of...well traditional publishers.  Along with the short story, the authors will submit a query letter. If the query piques our attention, we'll read the short.  The best short will win.  Pretty simple really.

I'm the first to admit that writing queries is (a) no fun; (b) hard to do, and (c) authors rarely get feedback on them.  For this contest, we're going to critique every query received, so even those that don't win will get something for entering. Plus, if we do send you on to round two and read your story, we'll provide some feedback on it as well.

Now, the next question most people have asked with regards to this contest (I've posted about this online at various places such as Amazing Stories, Reddit, SffWorld, and Fantasy Faction) revolves around the content of the shorts.  I'm open to any genre. What I want is a really good story, period. That being said, the audience reading it will be those that like my work, so you may (or may not) want to take that into consideration. The only thing I'm going to disallow is erotica or stories with explicit sex.  That won't go over well with my audience, so it's not going to provide the "leg up" I want.

Now as impossible it is to believe, there are probably some people who hear about this contest that have no idea about the type of work I write.  No problem, I have put together a sample of some short stories that star Royce and Hadrian (the two main protagonists of the Riyria books - the series this short will be bundled with). They range from 3,400 - 7,200 words and will give you a good feel for my style.  You can get a free copy of these samples by signing up for the contest at this link.

Oh, which brings me to the last thing...submission deadlines. To be honest, I don't know when I'll be open for submissions.  I'm going to be launching this with my Kickstarter for the hardcover printing of this book (no purchase is necessary to participate).  The big issue is I have a tight deadline for the novel that can't be pushed back because of the short story, so I expect the submission window to be rather short.  For this reason, I'm having people start their stories and queries now. That way, when the submission does open up, you'll be ready.  To be notified when submissions are open, here is a link to sign up (same one as above).

That's about all I can think of for now. Full details can be found by clicking on the link, so check it out before asking questions here, but if you do have any questions or comments, by all means share them here. Oh, and speaking of sharing. If you are part of a writing community, share this post or the link to the contest details within it. The more the merrier!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Win a copy of the next Riyria Novel

The excitement around the next Riyria book continues to grow and it's time for a giveaway...or even better two!

Each one is offering one of 3 copies and you can enter both to double your chances to win.

The first one is being done through Goodreads:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Death of  Dulgath by Michael J. Sullivan

The Death of Dulgath

by Michael J. Sullivan

Giveaway ends August 18, 2015.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to Win
But there may be some not on the site (why I'm not's well worth joining!), so there is a parallel giveaway going on as well. You can enter it from this link. It does reward people who are on goodreads and have added my books to their shelves (as they have more entries into the drawing). So that's another good reason to join goodreads.

If you aren't familiar with what the book is about.  Here's a little teaser:

Three times they tried to kill her. Then they hired a professional. She hired Riyria.
When the last member of the oldest noble family in Avryn is targeted for assassination, Riyria is hired to foil the plot. Three years have passed since the war-weary mercenary Hadrian and a cynical ex-assassin Royce joined forces to start their thieves-for-hire enterprise. Things have gone well enough until this odd assignment to prevent a murder. Now they must venture into a forgotten corner of southern Avryn—a place whose history predates the First Empire. As usual, challenges abound as they try to anticipate the moves of an unknown assassin before it’s too late. But that's not their only problem. The Countess of Dulgath hides a dark secret she's determined to keep hidden. Then there's the little matter of Riyria's new employer...the Nyphron Church. 

So go enter, and tell your friends. This book is designed to be a good entry point for both new and veteran Riyria readers.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A great review I had to share

I got a message on Facebook from someone who linked me to her Amazon review of The Jester. For those that don't know, this is a short story that was originally published in the Unfettered anthology (edited by Shawn Speakman and released by Grim Oak Press).  I've made it available for sale on the various platforms, at the lowest price they allow ($0.99).  But my intention was never to "make money" on this short. I want to share it with others, hopefully to entice them to read more of my works.  So, in case you don't now, you can it for free from me or audible. If you've not read any of my work, or read the novels but not the shorts, please use the links to get your free copy. And to let you know why you should even bother, well here's the review that I enjoyed so much:

5.0 out of 5 stars A Delightful Read!March 9, 2015
This review is from: The Jester: A Riyria Chronicles Short Story (Kindle Edition)
Being thrown into a deadly, watery trap isn't your typical idea of treasure hunting, but Royce and Hadrian definitely make it intriguing and entertaining! The two friends are serving as escorts/protection for a woman named Myra, who possesses pieces of a map that leads to riches galore. However, it's cursed in a sense, because the dwarven Jester who distributed the map pieces wanted to teach the greedy and cowardly nobility a lesson.

In this tight space, where Myra, the pig farmer Wilmer, and Royce & Hadrian are trapped, we see glimpses of each personality, and even of the motivations that brought them this far on the trip. Hadrian cares more about others and their safety, and Royce (a professional thief) reminds his friend to save his own bacon if he wants to make it out alive. These two men are very different, yet at the same time, their banter and implicit trust of one another is natural and central to the story.

I have to catch myself to make sure I don't let any spoilers slip, but suffice it to say, this is an entertaining read that will make you want to crave the next Royce & Hadrian adventure (and yes, I WILL be following these two).

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Interview at SFFWorld

When I first started publishing I credited a few thing to my success:
  • Fantasy bloggers / fan sites
  • Goodreads
Nowadays that list has expanded a lot to include things such as:
  • the amazing group at reddit's r/fantasy sub (which is a fan site of sorts)
  • a constant flow of new books
  • short stories as giveaways 
  • an email list - which I should use and haven't much
  • Kickstarter
  • And many, many more.
Even though the list has grown the importance of the blogger /fan sites still remains at the top of my list. After all, these are places where people eat, drink, and sleep fantasy and what's better than a bunch of people all sharing their love for the genre?  Not much I can think of.

One of the sites that I think does an exceptional job of uniting writers and readers is SFFWorld. They have a great forum and do interviews, reviews, and in general keep people up to date with what is happening in the fandom sphere. The other day they posted an interview they did with me, and even if you're not interested in that, I highly recommend you stop by as they have a ton of other interviews and I'm sure one will pique your interest. 

I hope you'll find it, and others, interesting.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

New Book Title Announcement

The Death of Dulgath will be the title of the third Riyria Chronicle novel. What is it about?  Well I'm glad you asked.  Here is the working "back of the book" blurb (which may change by the time publication rolls around):

Three times they tried to kill her. Then they hired a professional. She hired Riyria.
When the last member of the oldest noble family in Avryn is targeted for assassination, Riyria is hired to foil the plot. Three years have past since the war-weary mercenary Hadrian and a cynical ex-assassin Royce joined forces to start life as thieves-for-hire. Things have gone well enough until they receive the odd assignment to prevent a murder. Now they must venture into a forgotten corner of southern Avryn—a place which predates the empire.  As usual, challenges abound as they try to anticipate the moves of an unknown assassin before it’s too late. But that's not their only problem as The Countess of Dulgath hides a dark secret she's determined to remain that way. Then there's the little matter about Riyria's new employer...the Nyphron Church.

From the best-selling author of The Riyria Revelations, comes the third installment of The Riyria Chronicles. While part of a series, this novel can be read and enjoyed by those new to Riyria without fear of spoilers for the other works. For those who do wish to experience all the Riyria books, they can be read in either of the following orders:

PUBLICATION ORDER: Theft of Swords • Rise of Empire • Heir of Novron • The Crown Tower • The Rose and the Thorn • The Death of Dulgath

CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER The Crown Tower • The Rose and the Thorn • The Death of Dulgath • Theft of Swords • Rise of Empire • Heir of Novron

Other important facts:
Release date: Nov 15, 2015
Formats: ebook, audio, hardcover (hopefully), trade paperback
Cover Artist: Marc Simonetti
Narrator: Tim Gerard Reynolds
Publisher: Riyria Enterprises, LLC - or in other words me!*
Anticipated length: 130,000 words (384 pages)
Interested in beta reading? Sign up here.
Interested in the Kickstarter, pre-orders, and pre-release promotions? Sign up here.

More details as they become available!

*It's the only way to get the book released by the end of the year

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Tiptee Awards recognize Hollow World in their long list as worthy of attention

Okay, so I'll admit I never got into this writing gig for critical acclaim, I just wanted to write books I wanted to read, and have been more than thrilled that so many others have felt similarly.  I do think Tachyon Publications (the publisher of Hollow World) was a bit disappointed that my Kickstarter followed by traditional release took the book out of the running for the fantasy awards, but I still have no regrets with how that book was released.

Anyway, the Tiptree Awards were recently announced and it was nice to get a nod from them.  Here is a list of books they felt were worthy of attention.

  • Corinne Duyvis, Otherbound (Amulet 2014)
  • Meg Elison, The Book of the Unnamed Midwife (Sybaritic Press 2014) At the same time that the Tiptree winners were announced, this book won the Philip K. Dick Award.
  • L.S. Johnson, “Marigolds” (Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History, edited by Rose Fox and Daniel José Older, Crossed Genres 2014)
  • Laura Lam, Shadowplay (Angry Robot/Strange Chemistry 2014)
  • Ken Liu, “Knotting Grass, Holding Ring” (Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History, edited by Rose Fox and Daniel José Older, Crossed Genres 2014)
  • Sarah Pinsker, “No Lonely Seafarer” (Lightspeed Magazine, September 2014)
  • Michael J. Sullivan, Hollow World (Tachyon 2014)
  • Deborah Wheeler, Collaborators (Dragon Moon Press 2013)
  • Cat Winters, The Cure for Dreaming (Amulet 2014)
The winners for 2014 went to:

  • Monica Byrne’s The Girl in the Road
  • Jo Walton’s My Real Children 
The Tiptree honor list included:
  • Jennifer Marie Brissett's Elysium 
  • Seth Chambers', “In Her Eyes”
  • Kim Curran's “A Woman Out of Time” 
  • Emmi Itäranta's Memory of Water
  • Jacqueline Koyanagi's Ascension 
  • Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Rios for editing Kaleidoscope 
  • Pat MacEwen's “The Lightness of the Movement”
  • Nnedi Okorafor's Lagoon
  • Nghi Vo's “Neither Witch nor Fairy”
  • Aliya Whiteley's, The Beauty   
While inclusion on the long list means I'll be recognized Memorial Day weekend at WisCon, I won't be attending because I'm hard at work writing the Third Riyria Chronicles book.  My congratulations and hopes for a great time go out to all the other honorees.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Great day to buy a book...Independent Bookstore Day

Usually I use Saturdays to highlight an author in my "Authors Helping Authors" segment. But since today is Independent Bookstore Day, I'm going to use it to lend a helping hand to all the amazing independent bookstores that need readers.  The book publishing business isn't an easy one, especially not for bookstores whose margins are tight and increasingly hard to compete against giants like Amazon.

It's a beautiful day here in Virginia (I'm actually at a horse race, but had this post scheduled to go up without me). So I'm going to head to my favorite store tomorrow. But you should take a second to stop by your favorite as well.  Here are some of bookstores that I want to send some additional love to this weekend:

Friday, May 1, 2015

Moving on up...from 24 to 14 on reddit's Best Fantasy Novel List

Back in March I posted reddit's 2014 list of best novels (voted on by the 50,000 members of that sub). The vote was repeated this year (now with 75,000 members) and I'm please to announce that Riyria Revelations move up 10 spots (from 24 to 14) and Riyria Chronicles made the list at spot 37 (tied with 5 others).

There were 85 books that received 3 or more votes. Here is the full list:
  1. A Song of Ice And Fire by George R.R. Martin
  2. The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss
  3. The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson
  4. The Lord of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  5. Gentleman Bastard by Scott Lynch
  6. The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan
  7. The Malazan Book of The Fallen by Steven Erikson
  8. Discworld by Terry Pratchett
  9. The First Law by Joe Abercrombie
  10. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
  11. The Broken Empire by Mark Lawrence
  12. The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
  13. Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb
  14. The Riyria Revelations by Michael J. Sullivan
  15. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
  16. Raven's Shadow by Anthony Ryan
  17. Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. Le Guin
  18. The Second Apocalypse by R. Scott Bakker
  19. The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay
  20. The Sandman by Neil Gaiman
  21. Demon Cycle by Peter V. Brett
  22. Powder Mage by Brian McClellan
  23. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
  24. Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay
  25. The Dark Tower by Stephen King
  26. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
  27. Lightbringer by Brent Weeks
  28. The Chronicles of The Black Company by Glen Cook
  29. The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien
  30. The Magicians by Lev Grossman
  31. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
  32. Worm by wildbow
  33. Night Angel by Brent Weeks
  34. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  35. Tawny Man by Robin Hobb
  36. The Book of The New Sun by Gene Wolfe
  37. Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons
  38. The Drenai Saga by David Gemmell
  39. The Riyria Chronicles by Michael J. Sullivan
  40. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman/Terry Pratchett
  41. The Empire Trilogy by Raymond E. Feist/Janny Wurts
  42. The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny
  43. The Witcher by Andrzej Sapkowski
  44. New Crobuzon by China Miéville
  45. Kushiel's Legacy by Jacqueline Carey
  46. The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie
  47. The Legend of Drizzt by R.A. Salvatore
  48. Liveship Traders by Robin Hobb
  49. The Once and Future King by T.H. White
  50. Long Price Quartet by Daniel Abraham
  51. Abhorsen by Garth Nix
  52. The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne
  53. Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake
  54. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  55. Low Town by Daniel Polansky
  56. The Belgariad by David Eddings
  57. Dune Chronicles by Frank Herbert
  58. Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay
  59. River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay
  60. The Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay
  61. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
  62. Stardust by Neil Gaiman
  63. The Riftwar Saga by Raymond E. Feist
  64. Watership Down by Richard Adams
  65. The Stand by Stephen King
  66. Vlad Taltos by Steven Brust
  67. The Princess Bride by William Goldman
  68. Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey
  69. Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne by Brian Staveley
  70. The Coldfire Trilogy by C.S. Friedman
  71. The Orphan's Tales by Catherynne M. Valente
  72. The Dagger and the Coin by Daniel Abraham
  73. The Shadow Campaigns by Django Wexler
  74. Dread Empire by Glen Cook
  75. The Sarantine Mosaic by Guy Gavriel Kay
  76. Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews
  77. Ambergris by Jeff VanderMeer
  78. Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie
  79. Deverry by Katharine Kerr
  80. The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander
  81. The Acts of Caine by Matthew Woodring Stover
  82. Inheritance by N.K. Jemisin
  83. Riddle-Master by Patricia A. McKillip
  84. The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
  85. Conan the Barbarian by Robert E. Howard